26 March 2015
Reviewed by Carly Upton
Last night my mother in law and I dolled ourselves up for a night at the ballet, a lovely treat, especially on a school night! I had never been to a ballet before so was unsure what to expect. We arrived at the Opera House after driving into Manchester, there are several car parks within walking distance, some more expensive than others. We went straight to the box office to collect our tickets, we were also picked up a programme. The programme came in handy as we were able to get an idea of what the story was about before the show began.
The theatre is well sign posted throughout and we quickly found the toilets and the bar. The staff were all very friendly and gave welcoming smiles. We got our drinks and headed to our seats, 5 rows from the front, a very good view. The theatre is warm and welcoming with beautiful original features and decor. The seats are comfortable, although not designed for people with long legs! We were a little early so spent the time reading up on the stars of the show.
The show was due to start at 7:30pm, and the dancers took to the stage at around 7:40pm. The orchestra began the show and continued to play to a high standard throughout. The curtain rose revealing a beautiful set, with pretty cottages and woodland. The story is set in a beautiful village in the Rhine Valley in Germany, and Act One begins with Count Albrecht, played by Talgat Kozhabaev, calling on the beautiful peasant girl Giselle. Giselle enters the stage gracefully, wearing a beautiful dress and a pretty smile. Lilia Orekhova, dances beautifully as Giselle, using the whole stage to tell her story. I was unsure whether I would be able to follow the story but from the outset it was easy to identify the characters, from their personas, costumes and gestures. The story continued with a rivalry between Albrecht and Hilarion, a gamekeeper who has discovered that Albrecht has a secret. The two dance in a way that shows their dislike for each other and a passion for Giselle. I have a new found admiration for ballet dancers as they showed such strength and stamina as they moved around the stage, in such an expressive manner. There were lots of solo performances throughout the first act, each as spectacular as each other. Each dancer managed to be graceful and elegant and tell the story perfectly. The first act ends with the death of Giselle, from a broken heart, after she learnt that Albrecht was already promised to another. Until the end, Act One, is happy, dramatic and passionate, ending with an emotional scene as Giselle passes away.
After a short interval, enough time to enjoy an ice-cream, the dancers returned to the stage for Act Two. This act is set at night, beside the lake where Giselle has been buried. The stage is again dressed beautifully in a magical, shimmering twilight scene. This act begins as Hilarion, played by Daniil Orlov, visits the grave of the girl he had fallen in love with. Little does he know that Giselle is now part of a group of ghostly beings called the, Wilis, led by Myrtha. These ghosts are the spirits of girls whose hearts have been broken by unfaithful partners. The Wilis look beautiful and haunting in their white wedding gowns and dance beautifully showing haunting emotion and sadness. They proceed to ‘dance’ Hilarion to death. Albrecht then arrives at the grave and a similar fate awaits him, but Giselle’s deep love for him protects him from Myrtha and the Wilis. Act Two, unlike Act One, is calm, emotional and haunting. The orchestra play beautiful tranquil music which sets the scene beautifully.
The show ended to tremendous applause from the whole audience. My mother in law and I both had a very enjoyable evening. The Moscow City Ballet is a company full of talent and beautiful dancers. The audience ranged from young girls to old couples and everyone seemed to enjoy the show.
Thank you for a lovely evening, Manchester Opera House and The Moscow City Ballet.
Moscow City Ballet will be performing Swan Lake on 28 March at the Opera House in Manchester. For more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/operahouse.
Opera House Manchester. 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP | 0844 871 3018